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PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

17 SENATORS SIGNED MARCOS' BBL SUBSTITUTE BILL
{A majority of those who signed the report have expressed intent to propose amendments during plenary debates, Marcos said after the caucus. “If the amendments are really good, then we can adopt them,” he ] said.}


AUGUST 11 ---Senate committee on local government chairman Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and 16 other senators signed yesterday the 100-page committee report on the substitute Bangsamoro Bill following a caucus. STAR/File photo Senate committee on local government chairman Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and 16 other senators signed yesterday the 100-page committee report on the substitute Bangsamoro Bill following a caucus. Their action will now open debates on the bill before the plenary. A majority of those who signed the report have expressed intent to propose amendments during plenary debates, Marcos said after the caucus. “If the amendments are really good, then we can adopt them,” he said. He and Senate President Franklin Drilon had to convince their colleagues to sign the report to enable it to move before the plenary, he added. About 80 percent of the original Bangsamoro bill was “touched,” but its “original intent” was “very much preserved,” Marcos said. “In fulfillment of my promise and in compliance with our agreement during the caucus last week, I filed today the substitute bill which I firmly believe will establish a strong mechanism for peace in Mindanao,” he said. He is ready to sponsor the bill on Wednesday and other senators have been asked to submit their proposed amendments on his committee report, he added. Marcos has vowed to answer questions to be raised by his colleagues in the subsequent interpellation period. READ MORE...

ALSO: Negotiators welcome Marcos’ BBL points


AUGUST 15 -DELES
GOVERNMENT peace negotiators welcomed Friday the sponsorship by Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. of a substitute bill for the Palace-drafted Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), but denied his suggestion that they did not consult with enough stakeholders and chided the Senate for “finally catching up with the House of Representatives.”
“Certainly, we welcome this development in the Senate, especially because it means the plenary debates in the upper house will begin at last,” the chairman of the government peace panel, Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said in a statement. Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles, the presidential assistant on the peace process, added: “We are happy because the Senate is finally catching up with the House of Representatives in terms of this process, and because we are another step closer to the passage of the BBL.” Both Ferrer and Deles had come under fire for conceding too much to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), failing to consult with other groups outside of the rebel group, and drafting a law that was riddled with unconstitutional provisions, prompting Marcos to submit a substitute bill. Ferrer on Friday denied that the government did not consult with enough stakeholders. The Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, which was the basis for the BBL, was already the product of more than 550 consultations done by the Office of the Presidential Assistant on the Peace Process, in addition to consultations also done by the MILF panel, Ferrer said. She said the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, which drafted the bill, and both chambers of Congress have also conducted their respective consultations. READ MORE...

ALSO: Marcos scraps P17-B development fund for Bangsamoro government
[Marcos' committee report provides that the first elections shall be held 180 days after the ratification of the BBL. The senator earlier said he cannot guarantee that the BBL will be passed under the Aquino administration. A total of 17 senators have signed the committee report, pushing the substitute bill to the Senate plenary for further deliberation.]


AUGUST 10 --At the Senate 'Subsitute bill' caucus
Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. scrapped a provision in the Malacañang-drafted Bangsamoro Basic Law that would grant the envisioned territory billions intended for rehabilitation and development programs of the Bangsamoro government. The BBL version proposed by the Aquino administration provides a Special Development Fund amounting to P17 billion. Under the original draft bill, P7 billion shall be allocated for the first year following the ratification of the BBL. Another P10 billion shall be regularly released in the next five years in amounts of P2 billion. The said provision was deleted in the committee report, which contains the substitute bill Marcos proposed as chairman of the Senate committee on local government. Senate Bill 2894, under Committee Report 200, now called the "Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region," is 100 pages long and contains 17 articles and 215 sections. The initial funding of P1 billion to carry out the transition to a Bangsamoro government was retained in the substitute bill. Senator Marcos also included a provision on the normalization of communites in the envisioned Bangsamoro region, which will replace the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. READ MORE...

ALSO: House will pass a ‘constitutionally compliant’ BBL - Majority House leader


AUGUST 12 --Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II ---The BTC had drafted the Bangsamoro Bill based on the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) signed in 2012 and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) in 2014.
- The House of Representatives will pass a “constitutionally compliant” Bangsamoro Basic Law, Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II said in a statement yesterday after members of the Bangsamoro Transition asked them to restore the provisions removed or amended by the ad hoc committee that deliberated on the bill.
“What we’re saying is that what we’ll approve is what will be constitutionally compliant,” he told reporters. “I can understand their (BTC) sentiments and I also don’t want to go into the errors of the (government negotiating) panel but we were never consulted.” The BTC had drafted the Bangsamoro Bill based on the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) signed in 2012 and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) in 2014. Plenary deliberations on the Bangsamoro Bill resumed last night with ad hoc committee chairman Rufus Rodriguez defending the bill seeking to create a new autonomous region in Mindanao. Meanwhile, Malacañang is ready to work with the Senate in coming out with a Bangsamoro Basic Law that would promote long-term peace and progress in Mindanao. READ MORE...

ALSO: New BBL draft in honor of SAF 44 - Marcos


AUGUST 13 --Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. delivers his sponsorship speech on the new draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law . EY ACASIO
THE widows of the slain SAF 44 and their families’ choice of the path of peace despite the widespread rage and anguish over the Mamasapano tragedy drove lawmakers to exert efforts to remedy the constitutional infirmities of the Malacanang-backed draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. said on Wednesday. Marcos, chairman of the Committee on Local Government sponsored his substitute bill to the BBL and dedicated it in honor of the sacrifices of the Special Action Force 44 and their families for peace in Mindanao. Marcos’ submission of the draft law was welcomed by the Presidential peace advisers, with Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles saying that the move would allowed plenary deliberations for the passage of the law to proceed with all due diligence and without further delay. In his sponsorship speech of Senate No. 2894 entitled “An Act Providing for the Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region”, Marcos noted that the SAF44 widows chose the path of peace. “And so shall we. Our heroes died for peace, and we honor them because a country without heroes is a country without a soul,” he said. “That we have not responded with violent revenge is a blessing we owe to the widows and the families of our fallen SAF 44, who displayed courage and a burning desire for peace,” he added. This is the reason, Marcos said, why he exerted great effort and sought the help of as many people as possible to correct flaws of the draft BBL in crafting the substitute bill meant to achieve lasting peace in Mindanao. “Our heroes are best honored with deeds, not words, and there can be no greater honor than to finish the task for which they gave their lives, because in honoring our heroes, we honor the Philippines, and all its diverse people,” said Marcos. He stressed that peace cannot be achieved if it is not an inclusive and all-embracing peace. READ MORE...

ALSO: Inclusive and fair substitute BBL still open to revision–Marcos
[Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal, in an earlier media interview has expressed dismay over Marcos’ BLBAR saying it took away provisions that have been the product of a 17-year peace negotiation and inputs from for different minds. Iqbal also likened the BLBAR to a person that has no soul as he appealed to congress to improve the original draft BBL instead of watering it down.]


SENATOR Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the chair of the Senate local government committee, on Sunday assured the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and other concerned parties that his substitute bill on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will still undergo several processes and can still be subjected to revisions. Marcos, who recently sponsored the Basic Law on the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BLBAR) in the Senate, also said that he is ready to explain and justify the amendments he introduced to Malacanang’s version of the BBL to those who have expressed objection on the revised bill. “I’m confident that if the bill will be discussed thoroughly and be given a chance to clearly explain the amendments I believe that they (MILF) will understand,” Marcos said in a radio interview over DZBB. Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal, in an earlier media interview has expressed dismay over Marcos’ BLBAR saying it took away provisions that have been the product of a 17-year peace negotiation and inputs from for different minds. Iqbal also likened the BLBAR to a person that has no soul as he appealed to congress to improve the original draft BBL instead of watering it down. Marcos admitted that he was saddened by the opinion of the MILF official, but he said that he remains optimistic that he can convince MILF that BLBAR is right and it is supportive of the peace process. “If we see that there were mistakes or shortcomings in the proposed BLBAR, there is still a chance to come up with revisions,” Marcos added. READ MORE...

ALSO: House won’t restore deletions from BBL
[The leadership of the House of Representatives has rejected the request of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) to restore at least 28 provisions deleted by lawmakers from the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).]


Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chairman of the 75-member House ad hoc committee on the BBL, warned that restoring the deleted or amended provisions could erode support for the BBL in the chamber as many lawmakers, who had been strongly opposing the measure, have agreed to back the bill because of the changes. Boy Santos/Philstar/File
The leadership of the House of Representatives has rejected the request of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) to restore at least 28 provisions deleted by lawmakers from the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chairman of the 75-member House ad hoc committee on the BBL, said he and other leaders of the chamber met last week with Mohaquer Iqbal, who is both chairman of the BTC and chief negotiator for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Also present during the meeting were the vice chairmen of the ad hoc panel as well as Majority Leader and Mandaluyong City Rep. Neptali Gonzales II. The BTC drafted the BBL and is composed of representatives from the MILF and other sectors from Mindanao. The BBL, a product of negotiations between the government and the MILF, seeks to create a new autonomous region in Mindanao. “It has been the consensus that these provisions that we removed – there were many deletions as well as amendatory language – are really very important and necessary to make the bill constitutionally compliant,” Rodriguez told radio station dzBB. “In other words, if these provisions are restored, we believe that it may not be able to pass the Supreme Court’s constitutional scrutiny. That’s what we’ve explained to them over and over again during our meeting,” he said. Rodriguez warned that restoring the deleted or amended provisions could erode support for the BBL in the chamber as many lawmakers, who had been strongly opposing the measure, have agreed to back the bill because of the changes. He said they impressed upon Iqbal and the other BTC members that they wanted to pass a BBL acceptable not only to the House and the Senate but also to the SC. “I hope that the MILF will see that what we have done is for the best interest of the Bangsamoro and also for Congress,” Rodriguez said. READ MORE...

ALSO EDITORIAL: From BBL to BAR: Let the debates begin


MARCOS
WITH the submission to the Senate by Sen. Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., Chairman of the Committee on Local Government, of his substitute bill to the Aquino version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), full deliberation and debate can now proceed on the legislative measure that can best serve the primary objective of achieving peace and development in Mindanao and Sulu. The substitute measure, Senate Bill No. 2894, entitled “An Act Providing for the Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region,” effects a change in acronyms from BBL to BAR. But it involves more than just a change in initials. It involves a far more profound and far-reaching change in legislative intent and reach. The substitute bill aspires to be inclusive of all groups, Muslim and non-Muslim, in Mindanao. And it involves them in all aspects of governance. And it embraces the objective of development for the autonomous region. In his sponsorship speech of the measure, Senator Marcos enumerated eight basic principles that guided him and various senate committees in the writing of the bill. These principles are: 1. First, the primacy of the Philippine Constitution which every citizen is mandated to obey and defend. This compels the striking down of any provision that is clearly in conflict with the letter and spirit of the constitution. 2. Second, the autonomy of the constituent local government units (LGUS) of the Bangsamoro AutonomousRegion (BAR) as defined in the Local Government Code of 1991, as amended, which should not be diminished. This is aligned with the national policy of decentralization. CONTINUE READING...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

17 senators sign Bangsamoro Bill substitute bill


AUGUST 11 ---Senate committee on local government chairman Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and 16 other senators signed yesterday the 100-page committee report on the substitute Bangsamoro Bill following a caucus. STAR/File photo

MANILA, AUGUST 17, 2015  (PHILSTAR) By Christina Mendez - Senate committee on local government chairman Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and 16 other senators signed yesterday the 100-page committee report on the substitute Bangsamoro Bill following a caucus.

Their action will now open debates on the bill before the plenary.

A majority of those who signed the report have expressed intent to propose amendments during plenary debates, Marcos said after the caucus.

“If the amendments are really good, then we can adopt them,” he said.

He and Senate President Franklin Drilon had to convince their colleagues to sign the report to enable it to move before the plenary, he added.

About 80 percent of the original Bangsamoro bill was “touched,” but its “original intent” was “very much preserved,” Marcos said.

“In fulfillment of my promise and in compliance with our agreement during the caucus last week, I filed today the substitute bill which I firmly believe will establish a strong mechanism for peace in Mindanao,” he said.

He is ready to sponsor the bill on Wednesday and other senators have been asked to submit their proposed amendments on his committee report, he added.

Marcos has vowed to answer questions to be raised by his colleagues in the subsequent interpellation period.

READ MORE...

Marcos described the bill as all-inclusive since it carried the applicable advocacies, positions and proposals of all concerned.

The Senate committee on local government defined the asymmetric relationship between the national government and the envisioned Bangsamoro regional government to avoid any constitutional question.

“This is a recognition of the Bangsamoro diverse culture, and identity, and their aspiration for self-governance that makes it distinct from other regions and other local governments,” read Section 23 of the Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BAR).

The asymmetric relationship is provided under Article X Section 15 of the Constitution, where the autonomous region is granted more powers and with less intervention from the national government as compared to other territorial and political subdivisions.

“Within its territorial geographical area and subject to the provisions of the 1987 Philippine Constitution and national laws, the Bangsamoro regional government in the exercise of its right to self-governance is free to pursue its economic, social and cultural development,” read Article IV Section 12 on the General Principles and Policies of BAR.

Other senators who signed the committee report were Teofisto Guingona III, Aquilino Pimentel III, Antonio Trillanes IV, Pia Cayetano, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Manuel Lapid, Loren Legarda, Juan Edgardo Angara, Cynthia Villar, Nancy Binay, Gregorio Honasan, Grace Poe, Joseph Victor Ejercito and Ralph Recto.

They indicated that they will interpellate or amend the committee report.

“I signed to allow this bill to go to plenary. This is not a yes to the BBL,” Poe said in explaining her signature.

Sotto also signed “with reservation and amendments” and expressed agreement to the new title.

Sen. Alan Cayetano said he was against the bill but he also signed the committee report.

“I vote No,” he said.

“Yes to strengthening the autonomous region that will result in a just, inclusive, lasting peace. To BBL in present form. This version has addressed many (majority of objections, provisions). But many more have to addressed/amended.”

Cayetano cited as an example the “block grant” provision, which should not be included because it would give leaders of the envisioned Bangsamoro region a wide latitude to use the funds allocated to them.

“If they want schools, if they want hospitals, then let’s give them that,” he told reporters after yesterday’s plenary session.

“But why are they asking for all the money. What if they end up purchasing guns and other arms?”

Cayetano said the members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) cannot just be designated as leaders of the new region because they must be elected in the spirit of democracy.

As an example, he cited the case of Sen. Cynthia Villar who wrote, “I signed to allow this bill to go to plenary. This is not a yes to the bill.” – With Marvin Sy


MANILA STANDARD

Negotiators: Marcos’ BBL points welcome By Sandy Araneta | Aug. 15, 2015 at 12:01am


DELES

GOVERNMENT peace negotiators welcomed Friday the sponsorship by Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. of a substitute bill for the Palace-drafted Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), but denied his suggestion that they did not consult with enough stakeholders and chided the Senate for “finally catching up with the House of Representatives.”

“Certainly, we welcome this development in the Senate, especially because it means the plenary debates in the upper house will begin at last,” the chairman of the government peace panel, Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said in a statement.

Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles, the presidential assistant on the peace process, added: “We are happy because the Senate is finally catching up with the House of Representatives in terms of this process, and because we are another step closer to the passage of the BBL.”

Both Ferrer and Deles had come under fire for conceding too much to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), failing to consult with other groups outside of the rebel group, and drafting a law that was riddled with unconstitutional provisions, prompting Marcos to submit a substitute bill.

Ferrer on Friday denied that the government did not consult with enough stakeholders.

The Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, which was the basis for the BBL, was already the product of more than 550 consultations done by the Office of the Presidential Assistant on the Peace Process, in addition to consultations also done by the MILF panel, Ferrer said.

She said the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, which drafted the bill, and both chambers of Congress have also conducted their respective consultations.

READ MORE...

The House Ad Hoc Committee on the BBL, she continued, held 51 public hearings and consultations. The Senate panel chaired by Marcos conducted 12 public hearings and one briefing.

“The BBL also has numerous provisions to ensure inclusiveness, especially in terms of guaranteeing the rights and encouraging the participation of sectors like women, indigenous peoples, and so on. This, in addition to the number of consultations we made, shows that the BBL is inclusive both procedurally and substantively,” Ferrer noted.

Ferrer also said that from the start, the original draft of the BBL was conceived to be inclusive and multi-sectoral.

Deles, for her part, said that the entire process leading to the crafting of the BBL had been open and transparent, a claim that critics of the BBL have belied.

“Not many people were very interested in the peace process then, but those who have always been closely monitoring its progress would recall that we always have media sessions after the talks to update the public on the state of the process,” Deles said.

In recognition of the crucial role of Congress in the implementation of the Bangsamoro peace pact, Deles said several lawmakers, including Senators Aquilino Pimentel III and Teofisto Guingona III, were invited to observe the conduct of the peace talks in Malaysia.

Consultations and briefings with members of both chambers of Congress were also done while the peace negotiations were ongoing, she added.

Addressing concerns of Kuala Lumpur’s major role in the peace process, Deles said Malaysia had been the third-party facilitator in the peace process that started during the previous administration.

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RELATED FROM MANILA TIMES

MNLF given role in Marcos’ BBL August 12, 2015 11:00 pm
by JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA, REPORTER


PURSUING PEACE Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. shakes the hand of MILF vice chairman and chief peace negotiator Mohagher Iqbal after delivering his sponsorship speech. Also in photo is chief government peace negotiator Miriam Coronel Ferrer. PHOTO BY RUSSELL PALMA

Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has given a key role to the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in the establishment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.

Under Senate Bill 2894, a substitute bill to the Malacañang- proposed SB 2408 commonly known as BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law), the MNLF will be part of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), which shall be the interim government or governing body in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region during the transition period.

Marcos on Wednesday formally presented the bill to the Senate, which he said in his sponsorship speech “would guarantee the protection of our national interest and reserves to the national government its powers enshrined under [the] Constitution”.

The MNLF had been totally left out in the ongoing peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation (MILF), the senator said in a statement sent to The Manila Times.

Section 196 of Article 15 (Transition Period) of SB 2894 provides that a representative of the MNLF will be appointed by the President as a member of the BTA.

“The MNLF was not given any participation under the original BBL version, that’s why I included them in the BTA in my substitute bill. In fact, in the public hearings which I had conducted, I had invited them and all the other stakeholders because I consider them as partners in this endeavor of finally bringing peace to Mindanao,” Marcos said.

The BTA will be composed of 60 members, which include all the incumbent members of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Legislative Assembly, and those who will be appointed by the President from the women sector, settler communities, non-Moro inhabitants, other essential stakeholders and the MNLF.

The MILF, being the principal party to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, shall enjoy preference in the appointment to the BTA, both in its leadership and membership.

Last Monday, Marcos, as chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, filed SB 2894, shortly titled “Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region,” under Committee Report 200, which he described as all-inclusive because it contained applicable advocacies, positions and proposals from all the stakeholders that he had called during the period of public hearings.

READ MORE...

If enacted into law, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BAR) will be established, replacing the present ARMM, which will be abolished.

Other stakeholders called by Marcos to the public hearings were the Sultanate of Sulu, indigenous people, religious and youth groups, legal luminaries, labor and peasant groups, local government units and other concerned organizations.


THEIR HOMELAND, TOO:  Representatives of the indigenous peoples of Mindanao at public hearing.

Marcos had conducted a total of 12 public hearings and one briefing, which started on September 23, 2014, plus two separate hearings conducted by the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes headed by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago. The last hearing was on June 9.

One hearing each was conducted in Cotabato City, Marawi City, Tawi-Tawi, Jolo and Zamboanga City.

“Our version of the basic law for the BAR fulfills the duty that we in this august chamber must fulfill, to protect the national interests of the Republic of the Philippines,” Marcos said in his sponsorship speech.

The basic law, according to him, addresses the most important prerequisite to peace, which is the definitive end to armed conflict by providing an efficient, verifiable program of disarmament and demobilization, overseen by an independent monitoring body and providing the needed financial and social assistance to former fighters to become peaceful and productive members of society.

“It renounces war as an instrument of policy, and instead provides the governing structures and dispute resolution mechanisms needed to create a peaceful society managed through means that are morally and practically superior to armed conflict,” Marcos stated.

In his speech, he also acknowledged widows of the 44 slain police commandos and their families who have shown grace by choosing the righteous path of peace and have not responded with violent revenge.

Marcos said they asked only that justice be served and chose the peaceful path despite knowing that the government failed to honor their fallen loved ones with decency, respect and honor befitting those who have given their lives for the country.

“They choose the path of peace. And so shall we. Our heroes died for peace, and we honor them because a country without heroes is a country without a soul,” he added.

Marcos said in accepting the challenge of crafting the law he made a commitment to correct the many flaws of the original BBL and come up with a version that is all-embracing, inclusive of all who have been tragically affected by the conflict as well as every Filipino.

From the very beginning, he added, the BBL and the “comprehensive” agreement from which it was derived were not inclusive.

The government, Marcos said, has resorted to secret meetings held in faraway places, disregarded the constitutional authority of the in deliberating treaties, granted hastily every demand of the MILF and excluded other stakeholders.


Public hearing at Sulu gymnasium: Raising a point for his people.

In rewriting the new basic law, he added, the committee considered several principles including the primacy of the Constitution, autonomy of the constituent local government units of the BAR, checks and balances and bravery and heroism of the 44 policemen, among others.

Marcos said his version of the bill fulfills the desires of the Bangsamoro people for meaningful autonomy.

While the committee recognized that substantial fund need to be pumped into the BAR for rehabilitation and development purposes, he added, they acknowledged too that other regions and local government units are equally in need of the same funding support.

Marcos said the Senate local government committee also deemed it essential, given the history of secessionist armed struggle in Mindanao, that the proposed basic law will never be a vehicle for the establishment of an independent state.

Last among these important guiding principles, according to him, is that peace in Muslim Mindanao cannot be achieved without an effective normalization process.

Marcos said the normalization process under SB 2894 follows the United Nations principles of “DDR”–or disarmament, demobilization and reintegration–to attune and peg the milestones of the normalization efforts to internationally acceptable standards.

An integral component of the normalization process, he added, is the decommissioning of forces.

Under SB 2894, the decommissioning shall continue to be implemented and supervised by the independent decommissioning body but with enhanced functions and auxiliary support from government.

“Peace is the first step on an endless golden road to the future. Peace leads to order, which leads to progress, which leads to prosperity and dignity for all. Peace is in the soul of our nation. It is what our heroes, the brave Special Action Force 44 and so many before them, fought and gave their last breath to achieve,” Marcos said.

8 Responses to MNLF given role in Marcos’ BBL
Roldan Guerrero says:
August 13, 2015 at 2:55 pm
I doubt MILF will accept the substitute bill. The “PIGNOY” has promised them the moon and the stars, even going to the extent of breaking the laws and the constitution…The BBL is really designed to be forced into enactment as it will be the new state if succesfully created, will be used as haven for the PIGNOY and his accomplicess to avoid indictment of their crimes.
Reply
okoy says:
August 13, 2015 at 1:31 pm
Change the title of the Law Filipinomoro Autonomous Region as bangsa means state or nation..Is the moros not a Filipino?
Reply
domingo says:
August 13, 2015 at 9:49 am
In a talk shown in a popular website about why insurgency thrives in many places in the world including the Hamas and ISIS in the middleeast one of the reasons the speaker, who made extensive research on the matter, identified is that the insurgents provide hope to people suffering from the ineptitude and corruption of government. I am happy with the manner and process of Sen Marcos in extensively consulting with the stakeholders most affected by the proposed law. I am sure that out of these consultations it has become clear that the basic concerns of the people in Mindanao has been identified and will be addressed. Ending the armed conflict will come as a matter of course without going into an all out war as advocated by some ultra rightists and all within the confines of the constitution that ensures the integrity and supremacy of the Philippines as our nation and country. I am inspired by Sen Marcos I personally believe he is the only hope in the current morass of the dirty politics we now have. Go bong bong I hope you declare your candidacy very soon.
Reply
Benigno Kuha-Ko, Akin-Na says:
August 13, 2015 at 8:23 am
YES TO S.B. 2894
Reply
Roman says:
August 13, 2015 at 7:36 am
After MILF is provided billions of Peso (depriving other more worthy sectors of society of desperately needed resources), and MILF sets up an autonomous government complete with Sharia law courts and an armed police force made up of previous terrorists, what will Malacanang do when they declare independence? Besides displaying a pitiful feigned expression of impotent surprise, they will do nothing, as they are not capable of doing anything, as evidenced daily in the news. This not only foreseeable, but is certain to occur. If the pattern is repeated in Mindanao as elsewhere in the world where Islam rules, woe be to the Christians and Indigenous people, as they will certainly be ruthlessly persecuted, exiled, or rounded up and shot en mass becoming victims of genocide.
Reply
ed says:
August 13, 2015 at 4:51 am
Very nice. Finally something sensible. Truly only greater minds have the capacity to embrace a the bigger picture much more to a national scale. Certainly Deles and Ferrer are brilliant minds either focused to the needs and dictates of Malaysia and MILF or mediocre brains brimming with arrogance thinking there are no alternatives to their self proclaimed hallowed BBL version. Thank you Senator FRMarcos for your brilliance and patriotism. I believed you learned from the best.
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Samuel Santos says:
August 13, 2015 at 4:23 am
YES to Senate Bill 2894, NO to SB 2408. Let’s have lasting PEACE in Mindanao. MABUHAY ang Pilipinas.
Reply
JOSHUA DILAO PARADERO says:
August 13, 2015 at 12:28 am
At last there’s still hope for peace and security for our people in Mindanao, and somebody in our government who still cares and knows what he is doing. Senator Maros ,you made us proud again to be Filipinos,
Reply


GMA NEWS NETWORK

Marcos scraps P17-B development fund for Bangsamoro government August 10, 2015 9:18pm Tags: bangsamorobasiclaw, ferdinandmarcosjr


At the Senate 'Subsitute bill' caucus

Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. scrapped a provision in the Malacañang-drafted Bangsamoro Basic Law that would grant the envisioned territory billions intended for rehabilitation and development programs of the Bangsamoro government.

The BBL version proposed by the Aquino administration provides a Special Development Fund amounting to P17 billion.

Under the original draft bill, P7 billion shall be allocated for the first year following the ratification of the BBL. Another P10 billion shall be regularly released in the next five years in amounts of P2 billion.

The said provision was deleted in the committee report, which contains the substitute bill Marcos proposed as chairman of the Senate committee on local government.

Senate Bill 2894, under Committee Report 200, now called the "Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region," is 100 pages long and contains 17 articles and 215 sections.

The initial funding of P1 billion to carry out the transition to a Bangsamoro government was retained in the substitute bill.

Senator Marcos also included a provision on the normalization of communites in the envisioned Bangsamoro region, which will replace the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

READ MORE...

Marcos earlier said that the normalization aspect of the peace agreement, signed by the Aquino government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), should be included as a major provision of the BBL instead of being a mere annex to the framework agreement.

The normalization provision includes the decommissiong of MILF forces, which entails the process of disarmament, demobilization, reinsertion and reintegration.

Opt-in provision, sharing on natural resources scrapped

Also scrapped is the opt-in provision, which allows the expansion of the Bangsamoro area provided that a plebiscite is held to join the new political entity.

Senate President Franklin Drilon, a close ally of President Benigno Aquino III, also opposed the said provision.

Marcos also deleted several provisions under natural resources creating Zones of Joint Cooperation in the Sulu Sea and the Moro Gulf.

Under the government's proposal, the national and Bangsamoro governments shall work together to regulate the waters that comprise the Zones of Joint Cooperation.

Furthermore, the Joint Body for the Zones of Joint Cooperation shall ensure the coordination between the two governments on the exploration, development and utilization of non-living resources, and likewise determine the sharing of income and revenues derived therefrom.

Sultanate's rights, security of tenure

Meanwhile, Senator Marcos added a provision that would recognize the rights of sultanates.

"It shall adopt measures for the promotion and protection of the sultanates’ rights, including their right to their traditional native title of sultanship, their right to political participation in the Bangsamoro Regional Government, including reserved seats in the Parliament," the provision states.

Marcos earlier said the aim of his committee report is to make the BBL an inclusive measure.

The substitute bill likewise has provisions that would protect the security of tenure of government personnel to be affected as a consequence of the establishment of a Bangsamoro government.

"The gap in the length of service by reason of involuntary separation of an employee as a consequence of the reorganization of the Bangsamoro Regional Government shall not interrupt the continuity of the employee’s service," it added.

The committee report also does not explicitly state that the first elections for the Bangsamoro government shall be conducted in May 2016 contrary to the Malacañang draft.

Marcos' committee report provides that the first elections shall be held 180 days after the ratification of the BBL.

The senator earlier said he cannot guarantee that the BBL will be passed under the Aquino administration.

A total of 17 senators have signed the committee report, pushing the substitute bill to the Senate plenary for further deliberation. — Kathrina Charmaine Alvarez/JDS, GMA News


PHILSTAR

House to pass ‘constitutionally compliant’ BBL (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 12, 2015 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II ---The BTC had drafted the Bangsamoro Bill based on the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) signed in 2012 and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) in 2014.

MANILA, Philippines - The House of Representatives will pass a “constitutionally compliant” Bangsamoro Basic Law, Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II said in a statement yesterday after members of the Bangsamoro Transition asked them to restore the provisions removed or amended by the ad hoc committee that deliberated on the bill.

“What we’re saying is that what we’ll approve is what will be constitutionally compliant,” he told reporters.

“I can understand their (BTC) sentiments and I also don’t want to go into the errors of the (government negotiating) panel but we were never consulted.”

The BTC had drafted the Bangsamoro Bill based on the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) signed in 2012 and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) in 2014.

Plenary deliberations on the Bangsamoro Bill resumed last night with ad hoc committee chairman Rufus Rodriguez defending the bill seeking to create a new autonomous region in Mindanao.

Meanwhile, Malacañang is ready to work with the Senate in coming out with a Bangsamoro Basic Law that would promote long-term peace and progress in Mindanao.

READ MORE...

Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s submission of the committee on local government’s committee report on the substitute Bangsamoro Bill signals the beginning of plenary debates for the bill to move forward, according to Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr.

“We are hoping that the issues they are presenting will be clarified as part of their discussions on the draft BBL,” he said.

Eighty percent of the Bangsamoro Bill’s provisions has been amended, Marcos said.

He will sponsor the bill today and answer other senators’ questions during interpellation.

The substitute bill had deleted some of the provisions that the House of Representatives had also omitted from its own version, Marcos said.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) wants the Bangsamoro Bill spared from partisan politics and should not be used as a divisive campaign issue in next year’s polls.

Last July 29, the BTC wrote Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. to restore at least 28 provisions the ad hoc committee had deleted.

BTC chairman Mohagher Iqbal furnished Belmonte a copy of the BTC Resolution 005 series of 2015 supporting the passage in Congress of the Bangsamoro Bill “in its original form.”

“The BTC implores the better judgment of the leadership of both Houses of Congress to pass the BBL in its original form and to henceforth act according to the terms of the peace agreements,” read the resolution.

The Bangsamoro Bill was consistent with the FAB and CAB, the resolution said.

“The BTC stands firm that the proposed BBL in its original form is the most appropriate version based on the FAB and CAB and considering that it is the one that underwent the legitimate process of consultation with the people and engagement with the Office of the President,” read the resolution.

Among the controversial provisions that the BTC wants restored are certain powers supposed to be exclusive to the national government, allowing contiguous areas to join the envisioned Bangsamoro region upon the petition of 10 percent of its residents, making internal security a concurrent power with the proposed Bangsamoro government and creating a separate Bangsamoro military command.

Malacañang would like a law that would uphold and push forward the peace process, Coloma said when asked whether the Palace would stand by its version of the Bangsamoro Bill.

The bill contains important provisions based on the agreements that the government had signed with the MILF, he added.

The crafting of the proposed law was in the hands senators and members of the House of Representatives, Coloma said.

“In our democracy, it is but proper to discuss the important issues contained in any proposed law and we are hoping that the result of their deliberations will advance the peace process,” he said.

Everyone’s concern

The Bangsamoro problem must be treated as everyone’s concern, not a “partisan proposition,” the MILF said in an editorial posted on its website luwaran.com.

“It is a national interest to solve this problem, especially in the light of the conflict in South China Sea,” read the editorial.

“Besides, 17 long and harsh years of off-and-on negotiations is a record of its own. It is for this reason that lawmakers should set aside politics to give way to solving this problem. More seriously, it should not be used as a divisive campaign issue in the forthcoming national elections in 2016.”

Every candidate must push for the passage of Bangsamoro Bill before the elections, the MILF said, criticizing Zamboanga City Rep. Celso Lobregat for standing in the way of its passage.

“We don’t understand why he still has so many questions up to now,” read the editorial.

“Does this mean he is slow in grasping or internalizing the issues involved in the law? Maybe yes, maybe no; he is simply filibustering! It is time the House leadership should rein him in.”

The MILF commended Marcos for coming out with his version of the Bangsamoro Bill.

“At least, he had proven his critics wrong that he is sitting on the BBL in the Senate,” read the editorial.

The MILF is optimistic that the Bangsamoro Bill would be passed before October, the filing of certificates of candidacy.

“There is still enough time for it,” read the editorial. – Aurea Calica, Paolo Romero, Alexis Romero, Edu Punay


 

MANILA STANDARD


New BBL draft in honor of SAF 44 - Marcos
By Macon Ramos-Araneta | Aug. 13, 2015 at 12:01am


Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. delivers his sponsorship speech on the new draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law . EY ACASIO

THE widows of the slain SAF 44 and their families’ choice of the path of peace despite the widespread rage and anguish over the Mamasapano tragedy drove lawmakers to exert efforts to remedy the constitutional infirmities of the Malacanang-backed draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. said on Wednesday.

Marcos, chairman of the Committee on Local Government sponsored his substitute bill to the BBL and dedicated it in honor of the sacrifices of the Special Action Force 44 and their families for peace in Mindanao. Marcos’ submission of the draft law was welcomed by the Presidential peace advisers, with Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles saying that the move would allowed plenary deliberations for the passage of the law to proceed with all due diligence and without further delay.

In his sponsorship speech of Senate No. 2894 entitled “An Act Providing for the Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region”, Marcos noted that the SAF44 widows chose the path of peace.

“And so shall we. Our heroes died for peace, and we honor them because a country without heroes is a country without a soul,” he said.

“That we have not responded with violent revenge is a blessing we owe to the widows and the families of our fallen SAF 44, who displayed courage and a burning desire for peace,” he added.

This is the reason, Marcos said, why he exerted great effort and sought the help of as many people as possible to correct flaws of the draft BBL in crafting the substitute bill meant to achieve lasting peace in Mindanao.

“Our heroes are best honored with deeds, not words, and there can be no greater honor than to finish the task for which they gave their lives, because in honoring our heroes, we honor the Philippines, and all its diverse people,” said Marcos.

He stressed that peace cannot be achieved if it is not an inclusive and all-embracing peace.

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Unfortunately, Marcos said the government’s peace agreement where the proposed autonomy for Bangsamoro people is based generated fears and suspicion when government negotiators dealt solely with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to the exclusion of other stakeholders.

What made matters worse, according to Marcos, is the participation of Malaysia in the peace talks as facilitator and moderator since “it is not a disinterested party”.

Marcos said his version of the basic law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region protects our national interest and reserves to the national government its powers enshrined under our constitution.

“The basic law addresses the first and most important prerequisite to peace – the definitive end to armed conflict – by providing an efficient, verifiable program of disarmament and demobilization, overseen by an independent monitoring body, and providing the needed financial and social assistance to former fighters to become peaceful and productive members of society,” he added.

At the same time, Marcos said his version of the bill fulfills, to the extent that our constitution and national sovereignty can allow, the desires of the Bangsamoro people for meaningful autonomy.

Marcos said his committee adhered to several basic principles in crafting the substitute measure. First among these basic principles is the primacy of the constitution.

He said that since every citizen is mandated to obey and defend the constitution this compelled the committee to “strike down any provision that is clearly in conflict with its letter and spirit”.

Likewise, Marcos said his committee believed that the autonomy of the constituent local government units of the BAR as defined in the Local Government Code of 1991, as amended, should not be diminished.

In addition, Marcos said his panel believed that principle of checks and balances in all aspects of governance in BAR should be strengthened because this is the main reason why the ARMM has failed.

While the committee recognized that substantial fund need to be pumped in to the BAR for rehabilitation and development purposes, Marcos said they acknowledged too that other regions and local government units are equally in need of the same funding support.

Marcos said another important principle, based on the lessons learned through the heroism of the SAF (Special Action Force) 44, is that peace and order in the autonomous region should remain to be the primary responsibility of the national government, through our structured Philippine National Police.

Since the BAR is a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural region the committee believed that the basic law governing it must be inclusive by ensuring that all groups are represented in all aspects of governance.

Marcos said the committee also deemed it essential, given the history of secessionist armed struggle in Mindanao, that the proposed basic law will never be a vehicle for the establishment of an independent state.

Last among these important guiding principles, according to Marcos, is that peace in Muslim Mindanao cannot be achieved without an effective normalization process.

He said peace and development are as much primary objectives of the proposed measure as the enhanced autonomy for Muslim Mindanao being granted to the people of the new autonomous region.

According to Marcos, the normalization process under SB 2894 follows the United Nations principles of “DDR”---or disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration---to attune and peg the milestones of the normalization efforts to internationally acceptable standards.

An integral component of the normalization process, Marcos said, is the decommissioning of forces.

Under SB 2894 decommissioning shall continue to be implemented and supervised by the independent decommissioning body, but with enhanced functions and auxiliary support from government.


MANILA TIMES

Inclusive and fair substitute BBL still open to revision–Marcos August 16, 2015 5:21 pm

SENATOR Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the chair of the Senate local government committee, on Sunday assured the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and other concerned parties that his substitute bill on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will still undergo several processes and can still be subjected to revisions.

Marcos, who recently sponsored the Basic Law on the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BLBAR) in the Senate, also said that he is ready to explain and justify the amendments he introduced to Malacanang’s version of the BBL to those who have expressed objection on the revised bill.

“I’m confident that if the bill will be discussed thoroughly and be given a chance to clearly explain the amendments I believe that they (MILF) will understand,” Marcos said in a radio interview over DZBB.

Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal, in an earlier media interview has expressed dismay over Marcos’ BLBAR saying it took away provisions that have been the product of a 17-year peace negotiation and inputs from for different minds.



Iqbal also likened the BLBAR to a person that has no soul as he appealed to congress to improve the original draft BBL instead of watering it down.
Marcos admitted that he was saddened by the opinion of the MILF official, but he said that he remains optimistic that he can convince MILF that BLBAR is right and it is supportive of the peace process.

“If we see that there were mistakes or shortcomings in the proposed BLBAR, there is still a chance to come up with revisions,” Marcos added.

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Marcos said that he believes he would be able to justify the changes he introduced in the draft BBL once the plenary debates start. The Senate is expected to begin interpellation on the BLBAR today (August 17).
Meanwhile, in a related development, Marcos told vice governors of Mindanao that the BLBAR is not just inclusive but beneficial and fair to Moros and non-Moros alike.

During the Mindanao Vice Governors’ Conference held at Cagayan De Oro City, Marcos said that he only did “the right thing to do’’ in crafting the substitute bill.
“I believe we tried very hard to be fair to everyone concerned,” Marcos said reacting to the question about allegations that his substitute bill watered the original proposed measure during a press briefing.

Marcos likewise pointed out that many of the provisions of the bill treated the Bangsamoro government similarly to other local governments in the country, in order to draw them closer to mainstream Filipino society instead of treating them as a separate group.

This principle, Marcos explained, guided the substitute bill’s provisions on the authority of the Bangsamoro government over Lake Lanao, which some critics in social media have tagged as “anti-Moro”.

“What is different in our substitute bill is we just considered what was described either as inland waters or Bangsamoro waters to adhere to the definition of municipal waters. I don’t see why we need to change it,” Marcos noted.

Under the Local Government Code, “municipal waters” include streams, lakes, and tidal waters within the municipality that are not the subject of private ownership and are not within national parks, public forests, timberlands, forest reserves or fishery reserves.

He said, SB 2894 even extended the boundary for marine waters from 15 kilometers up to 22.224 kilometers (12 nautical miles) from the low-water mark of the coasts that are part of the Bangsamoro geographical area.

SB 2894 however assured that that the power plants generating electricity from the waters of Lake Lanao, as well as the transmission facilities connected to the national grid, remained under the supervision of the National Power Corporation.

“Lake Lanao is critical as it supplies 60 percent of all the power in Mindanao. We all know that we are in crisis when it comes to power generation in Mindanao,” Marcos said.

The Senator added that while he tried his best to correct the flaws of the BBL draft in the substitute bill, it could be further improved with additional inputs from his fellow senators during the period of amendment and in the bicameral conference committee, after both Houses of Congress have passed their own version of the measure.

The conference was led by Misamis Oriental Vice Governor Jose Mari Pelaez, the vice president for Mindanao of the Vice Governors League of the Philippines and was attended by 15 vice governors from Mindanao and one delegate from Aurora province, as well as several members of provincial boards.

Aside from Marcos, Zamboanga City Rep. Celso Lobregat was also one of the guest speakers in the event.
JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA


PHILSTAR

House won’t restore BBL By Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 17, 2015 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chairman of the 75-member House ad hoc committee on the BBL, warned that restoring the deleted or amended provisions could erode support for the BBL in the chamber as many lawmakers, who had been strongly opposing the measure, have agreed to back the bill because of the changes. Boy Santos/Philstar/File

MANILA, Philippines - The leadership of the House of Representatives has rejected the request of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) to restore at least 28 provisions deleted by lawmakers from the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chairman of the 75-member House ad hoc committee on the BBL, said he and other leaders of the chamber met last week with Mohaquer Iqbal, who is both chairman of the BTC and chief negotiator for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Also present during the meeting were the vice chairmen of the ad hoc panel as well as Majority Leader and Mandaluyong City Rep. Neptali Gonzales II.

The BTC drafted the BBL and is composed of representatives from the MILF and other sectors from Mindanao. The BBL, a product of negotiations between the government and the MILF, seeks to create a new autonomous region in Mindanao.

“It has been the consensus that these provisions that we removed – there were many deletions as well as amendatory language – are really very important and necessary to make the bill constitutionally compliant,” Rodriguez told radio station dzBB.

“In other words, if these provisions are restored, we believe that it may not be able to pass the Supreme Court’s constitutional scrutiny. That’s what we’ve explained to them over and over again during our meeting,” he said.

Rodriguez warned that restoring the deleted or amended provisions could erode support for the BBL in the chamber as many lawmakers, who had been strongly opposing the measure, have agreed to back the bill because of the changes.

He said they impressed upon Iqbal and the other BTC members that they wanted to pass a BBL acceptable not only to the House and the Senate but also to the SC.

“I hope that the MILF will see that what we have done is for the best interest of the Bangsamoro and also for Congress,” Rodriguez said.

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He said the House leadership, however, still asked the BTC to submit a clearer explanation of their request as the letter it sent last month contained only bullet points.

The Senate, for its part, has replaced the entire version of the BBL with its own, through the efforts of Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., chairman of the local government committee tackling the proposed measure.

Marcos defended the new basic law on Bangsamoro Basic Region, adding there was no intent from the Senate committee on local government to sabotage or delay approval of the measure.

“If we really wanted to sabotage the basic law, we would have not touched it. But that was not our goal. Our goal was to craft a basic law that is constitutional so that we can have peace. We are still working for peace. We had to fix this, this could have been junked like MOA-AD,” Marcos said, referring to the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain which was junked by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional in 2008.

Marcos noted that it took some time before the draft measure was submitted to Congress by the peace negotiating panel. This was after the Jan. 25 Mamasapano incident that caused a major setback in the hearing of the draft BBL.

“The draft BBL is highly unconstitutional. I don’t know if this has an impact on (the President’s) impeachment but all I know that it was a law that we cannot pass,” Marcos said over dzBB.

Marcos said he is ready for the period of debates and amendments for the measure. He expressed confidence that the substituted measure has addressed the constitutional issues of the proposed basic law.

In the process, Marcos said the President was spared from any embarrassment once the measure is scrutinized over its constitutionality.

Debates Marcos noted, however, the differences in the version of the House and the Senate might cause further debates on the matter.

“It’s very hard to anticipate on how long the debates will take. I know for sure that during period of interpellation, many senators will ask a lot of questions and during the period of amendments, it would be the same. They have their own ideas on how to make the bill better. So it’s just impossible to predict,” Marcos said.

Explaining the reasons behind the changes, Marcos said many of the provisions of the bill treated the Bangsamoro government similarly to other local governments in the country, in order to draw them closer to mainstream Filipino society instead of treating them as a separate group.

He said the measure was beneficial and fair to all Moros and non-Moros alike.

“I believe we tried very hard to be fair to everyone concerned,” Marcos said when asked about allegations that his substitute bill, Senate Bill No. 2849, presented a watered down version of powers granted to the Bangsamoro government.

This principle guided the substitute bill’s provisions on the authority of the Bangsamoro government over Lake Lanao, which some critics in social media have tagged as “anti-Moro.” With Christina Mendez


EDITORIAL: From BBL to BAR: Let the debates begin
August 13, 2015 11:36 pm


MARCOS

WITH the submission to the Senate by Sen. Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., Chairman of the Committee on Local Government, of his substitute bill to the Aquino version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), full deliberation and debate can now proceed on the legislative measure that can best serve the primary objective of achieving peace and development in Mindanao and Sulu.

The substitute measure, Senate Bill No. 2894, entitled “An Act Providing for the Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region,” effects a change in acronyms from BBL to BAR. But it involves more than just a change in initials.

It involves a far more profound and far-reaching change in legislative intent and reach. The substitute bill aspires to be inclusive of all groups, Muslim and non-Muslim, in Mindanao. And it involves them in all aspects of governance.

And it embraces the objective of development for the autonomous region.

In his sponsorship speech of the measure, Senator Marcos enumerated eight basic principles that guided him and various senate committees in the writing of the bill.

These principles are:

1. First, the primacy of the Philippine Constitution which every citizen is mandated to obey and defend. This compels the striking down of any provision that is clearly in conflict with the letter and spirit of the constitution.

2. Second, the autonomy of the constituent local government units (LGUS) of the Bangsamoro AutonomousRegion (BAR) as defined in the Local Government Code of 1991, as amended, which should not be diminished. This is aligned with the national policy of decentralization.

CONTINUE READING...

3. Third, the principle of checks and balances in all aspects of governance should be strengthened because this is the main reason why the autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has failed.

4. Fourth, while substantial funding needs to be pumped into the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BAR) for rehabilitation and development purposes, we should not overlook the fact that other regions and LGUs are equally in need of the same funding support. We risk an unequal distribution or allocation, which could potentially sow the seed of discontent among our countrymen.

While we enhance the revenue of BAR, as well as financial grants from the national government, additional funding for development purposes are better left with Congress through the yearly budgeting process.

5. Fifth, the bravery and heroism of our SAF 44 has taught us many lessons, among which is that peace and order in the autonomous region should remain as the primary responsibility of the national government, through the structured Philippine National Police.

6. Sixth, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BAR) is a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural region. Thus, the basic law must be inclusive by ensuring that all groups are represented in all aspects of governance.

7. Seventh, the history of armed struggle of a number of Muslim groups reveals that the struggle to establish a separate and independent state in that portion of Philippine territory remains a concern. It should therefore be clear that the proposed basic law must never be a vehicle for the establishment of an independent state.

8. Eight and finally, the fundamental premise of the organic law is the continuing quest for peace in Muslim Mindanao. But peace cannot be achieved without an effective normalization process

Every argument, every principle, every goal, every factor to be considered should converge around the primary objective of peace.

Senator Marcos put the issue eloquently and persuasively when he said:

“We strive for peace. We must have peace. And we shall have peace. But we will not have peace at the expense of our sovereignty. We will not have peace by surrendering our land at the behest of the leadership of Malaysia, which, while a respected neighbor and valuable regional partner, seeks only to advance its own interests in Mindanao and Sabah at the expense of the people of the Philippines. We cannot have a peace that violates our own supreme law, the constitution. And we certainly will not have peace if it excludes even one of the many groups who have suffered through the long years of conflict and the poverty it has caused.”
Well said, Mr. Senator. This is the voice of our people speaking through you. For this is the peace that our people and our country deserve, and which in God’s good time, they will achieve.

9 Responses to From BBL to BAR: Let the debates begin
edgar says:
August 14, 2015 at 3:27 pm
this son of a dictator is a mouthpiece of the solid north mob..
what a shame… tell him to return the loot….lol
Reply
Banyagangpinoy says:
August 14, 2015 at 3:21 pm
A real PILIPINO has appeared in the person of Bongbong Marcos. Ito ang tunay na tao na nagmamalasakit sa mga Pilipino. Hindi tulad ni Deles at Ferrer na dapat ay IBITAY sa Luneta dahil sa kataksilan sa sambayan Pilipino, masunod lamang ang kagustuhan ng amo nila ABNOY,
Reply
vic sanchez says:
August 14, 2015 at 12:01 pm
Senator Bongbong, the way he speaks and reasons out, is really brilliant and a real statesman. His idea of “downgrading” the status of the BS Aquino’s dreamed BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law, that somewhat gives the Bangsamoro an independent state) into BAR (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region) is laudable. This will, at least, avoid the creation of a state within a state — a situation majority of us Filipinos do not want and like because we know it will only ignite more troubles!
Reply
Vicente Luz says:
August 14, 2015 at 9:07 am
I salute you, Senator Bongbong Marcos! You are real leader our country needs in this trying hours. You stand your ground on what you believe is right and true. You were not intimidated and still fight for the people and for our country. Mabuhay ka! God bless you and keep you!
Reply
Sean says:
August 14, 2015 at 8:45 am
Marcos is true leader, know how to listen to the people involved.
Reply
Marlo says:
August 14, 2015 at 8:20 am
See? I never heard Aquino, Drilon, Belmonte, Rodriquez, Abad, Deles, Coronel and Leonen talked about any or all of these key guiding principles. Or probably, they really lacked the essentiality of strategic thinking, and thus failed to grasp the multi-dimensional imperatives of a law granting autonomy in that region populated by different ethnic groups.
Congratulations, Senator Bonbong Marcos. You really are a class of your own, a cut way above the rest.
Reply
vg says:
August 14, 2015 at 6:23 am
Marcos has shown us all he is a capable man and acted as a Senator should. He should be commended.
Reply
Bonifacio Claudio says:
August 14, 2015 at 1:30 pm
Marcos is “A true Filipino in thought, in word, and in deed”. A society that is just and liveable for all Filipinos in all walks of life IS ALL HE EVER WANTED for the love of Inang Bayan. That’s all that could be gleaned in the actions of Marcos – OUTSTANDING !!!
MyrLA bryant says:
August 14, 2015 at 4:06 am
I agree Senator Marcos. A very conscientious speech, indeed. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!
Reply


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